Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Kicking Off the Boating Season

Get Pumped!  Get Amped!  Get Fired UP!  

Boating season is only months away, and for those of us attending the New England Boat Show in Boston this week...the season has begun.  If you are not yet aware, we are living in the Gilded Age of recreational boating.  

Veteran and newbie boaters alike have more options to get on the water than any time in the history of the world.  My Great, Great, Great Grandfather Samuel Higgins was a boat builder on the Clark's Fork River near Noxon, Montana in the late 1800s.  His designs were cutting edge back then, but I wish I could transport him to 2019 and give him a spin on a 30' Bennington Pontoon with twin Yamaha 300 outboards!

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Samuel Higgins and Friends Chilling in His Boat


There are so many exciting new boating options at Hamlin's Marina this year.  Right now we have hundreds of new boats in stock to check out including Bennington, Stingray, Mastercraft, Chris-Craft, and Scout models.  

Let me also announce an exciting new line, Scarab Jet Boats.  Scarab offers single and twin engine options from 16' to 25'.  Jet boats are an excellent option for those in shallow, rocky lakes because there are no lower units.  These boats are absolutely sick and the lack of props allow for safe surfing!  Check out footage from our maiden round trip voyage in our Scarab 215ID with twin 300 Rotax Engines from Hampden to Belfast last November...

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bennington 28RSBX...Super Size Me!

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Yesterday I had an epic boating adventure that will not soon be forgotten.  The setting was perfect...bright sun and a slight breeze beckoned us to the marina just as we buttoned up our work for the day.  Our crew of twenty was a combination of battle-weary Hamlin's employees, friends, and a handful of excited little girls.  We left the docks around six and bombed down the river from Hampden to Bucksport.

The Bennington 28RSBX is a super boat by any measure.  A standard pontoon boat measures either 8' or 8.5" wide (beam).  This boat is 10' wide and features Bennington's exclusive ESP- 10' Wide Beam performance triple pontoon package.  What that means is that there are (3) 32" diameter oval pontoons running over 28' long underneath the deck.


Our boat was powered by Yamaha's only V8 model, an F350XCA.  The boys from Puffin Boat Co painted this particular motor Pearl White to match the fiberglass base of the swing back seat.  The boat looks hot!  

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As we rounded the bend in Winterport toward Bucksport, we could feel the temperature drop and felt the tell-tale turbulence of the turning ocean tide.  The Bennington's platform was super stable and dry and would put any Deep V boat to shame when it comes to overall comfort in the slop.  After a quick landfall in Bucksport to take advantage of the public restrooms, we turned back up river to our destination...the Bangor Waterfront to poach a concert on a beautiful night.  

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Imagine Dragons rocked the waterfront, while twenty friends made quick work of a floating dance floor!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Teddy Ball Game Goes Yard in Waterville

Teddy Ball Game Pre-Show Prep in Presque Isle

Hamlin's Marine recently welcomed Ted Ross to our sales team in Waterville.  From his very first day, we knew that Ted was special.  He isn't one of those guys that comes around very often...maybe once in a generation.  It's not many that can carry a nickname like "Teddy Ball Game".

The other "Teddy Ball Game" was Red Sox royalty and one of the greatest hitters that ever lived.  Ted Williams also served 39 combat missions as an aviator in the Korean War.  When Ted wasn't hitting home runs, or shooting down bad guys over the South Pacific...he was busy becoming a legend in the world of fly fishing.  The old-timers around Bangor still talk about spotting Ted at fishing camps up north or on the famous Miramichi River in Canada.

Ted Williams has passed to the afterlife, but there is hope that one day he may return.  After all, Ted's been Cryonically Frozen in the hopes he will some be thawed out and re-born.

Until then, we still have our own "Teddy Ball Game", and he is happy to help you purchase your next boat from Hamlin's Marine.  Like Williams, Ted Ross is multi-talented.  Our "Teddy Ballgame" is an avid skier, golfer, and fisherman.  He also has a wicked sense of humor!  Check out this video of Ted when we told the local Hibachi restaurant that it was his birthday (it wasn't...)

Ted started with us earlier this year and has done an outstanding job learning our product lines.   You'll find Ted to be a pleasure to work with and willing to spend all day to help you find the right boat for your needs.

In fact, Ted has already become our leading Alumacraft salesman this year, and can make sure you get the right boat with the right equipment to get on the fish.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

It's Time to Think About Boating Again

Josh Cottrell Captains a Scout 300LXF

Hamlin's Marine and Puffin Boat Co has been busy digging out and preparing for our first show of the year in Boston, The New England Boat Show.  The show runs from February 10th through the 18th and features one of the largest indoor displays of new power boats and sailboats in the world.

Early reports from the New York Boat Show reflect record breaking sales due to increased consumer confidence and a booming economy.  More families are moving forward to purchase new boats meaning that more people will be having more fun on the water this year.

A growing economy will mean new boaters will be in the market once again.  The joy of being on the water isn't easily described.  Boating lends a feeling of freedom and fulfils a sense of adventure. 

When I look back to 2004 when I first started in the business, I remember the same climate of optimism from our customers.  Many young people and growing families sought the adventure and freedom of boating.  The satisfaction of introducing people to our world of boating was so much fun!

Cutwater 28 at the World's Largest Rendezvous
For the last ten years, the boating industry has been through a cycle of extremes.  For many years manufacturers and dealers went into survival mode.  Manufacturers struggled to keep their doors open while dealers squeaked out a living serving their base of seasoned, life-long boaters.  Nothing stands between a life-long boater and getting on the water...not even a sluggish economy.

Edendriver at the Tampa Bay Boat Show
But over the last couple years, our industry has come roaring back.  Manufacturers are building larger and more feature-rich boats once again.  Boat engines have shifted from heavy, maintenance hogs, to lighter and more efficient outboards.  Pontoon manufacturers have lost the stigma of just being grandpa's boat, and they are delivering luxury and performance that rivals any fiberglass alternative.

Chris Duffy and Josh Cottrell Visit Chris-Craft in Sarasota, FL
Here is a sample of innovations and highlights from each of our brands:
  • Bennington Pontoons: As the world's #1 pontoon manufacturer, Bennington must provide the best experience for the customer when it comes to quality and value.  This year, Bennington will build over 12,000 boats.  As usual, Bennington has been innovating with new floor plans.  Currently, the Swing Back option on many models continues to be a hit because it provides versatility, comfort, and space saving design.  Couple that with the Simtex upholstery providing the durability of vinyl and the feel of fabric, and the owner experiences next level comfort.  Another big update:  Bennington will continue to offer seat covers for the upholstery as an alternative to a large mooring cover which saves about 1/2 hour of installation at the end of a day on the water.  
  • Stingray Deckboats: The release of the 236 CC as a larger center console deck boat should prove a versatile family boat that fishes with the best of them.
  • Alumacraft Fishing Boats:  Since exiting Polarkraft a couple of years ago, Hamlin's Marine has been building our relationship with Alumacraft.  Last summer, my family attended the Alumacraft dealer meeting in Minnesota, and we managed to negotiate huge discounts to pass on to Maine fishing fanatics.  You no longer have to settle for lower quality on a "No Haggle, No Hassle" can now buy a 2018 Alumacraft 165 Classic Sport (Full Windshield) well equipped with a Yamaha F50, trailer, and full enclosure for only $18,242!
  • Mastercraft Tow Boats: Mastercraft just won an NMMA Innovation award for the new DockStar Handling System.  If you have ever captained a straight inboard V8, you've experienced the exhilaration of carving tight turns with seemingly unlimited power.  That's cool!  What isn't cool is crashing into docks and looking like a stooge at the ramp at low speed.  DockStar now allows you to handle a Mastercraft at low speeds without having to grow up in a Lobstering community.  
  • Cutwater Cruising Boats:  This West Coast builder has made affordable full-featured, ocean cruising possible.  Experience the true adventure of island hopping and long distance travel by water without being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  The new 302 Coupe with twin Yamaha 300s is in such huge demand, that it's nearly impossible to see one without placing an order a year in advance or travelling to Seattle.  Hamlin's has finally landed one in inventory, and we will be showcasing it at the Boston Boat Show.  Do not let this one get away!
  • Scout Boats:  Hamlin's Marine has a boat building company that builds the Scout 151 in Hampden, Maine.  The Scout 151 is available in three different layouts, with fishing and watersports options.  Build one online and see how affordable the best can be!
  • Chris-Craft:  New to Hamlin's but on the water since 1874, Chris-Craft allows us to serve a new market of boaters that simply want to have the best boat on the lake.  Hamlin's Marine will be serving the New England Market at the Boston Boat Show.  Our showcase will include a 21 Carina and a 30 Calypso.
  • Edendriver:  Built at Hamlin's Marine, the Edendriver is now showing up all over the country.  This year, we will be releasing side console models in addition to the popular center console model.  
Chris Duffy and our Scout 151 Dealer in Lake Placid, NY
All of us at Hamlin's are looking forward to seeing you on the water this spring!  Come see us in our showrooms and at the boat shows!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Around the Water in 80 Days

Kenmore Air Flight to Roche Harbor, Washington

In the past two months I’ve been on the road non-stop at boat shows and dealer meetings:

In early August, Katie and my family attended the Alumacraft dealer meeting in Minnesota.  We were proud to accept a Top Sales Award at the meeting and we changed our buying strategy to allow us larger discounts to better compete with Lund, Lowe, Crestliner, and Smokercraft.  Hamlin's Marine is now seeing truck loads coming in with our bread and butter models…the Escape 145 CS, the Classic165 CS, the Classic 165 Sport, the Competitor 175 Sport, the Edge 185, and the Trophy 205.  Our goal is to grow our volume in 2018 by 20% or more.  Hamlin’s will be more aggressive in pricing, more focused with our model offering, and more knowledgeable about the best aluminum fishing boat in America.  All of our Alumacraft boats are powered by Yamaha outboards unlike many of our competitors.  Katie and my daughters, Zoe (9) and Ella (7), also had some valuable Family Fun time.  We took a test drive on a new Alumacraft 185 Edge on the mighty Mississippi River.  Talk about muddy water!  My girls were also pumped to visit the Mall of America in Minneapolis.  Insanity!!!!

Fun Flight to Minneapolis
Alumacraft Sales Award
Mississippi Muddy Waters

Mall of America

Next…Reid Garrity, Josh Cottrell, John Clark, and I headed to Bennington in Indiana.  Bennington has been our success story this year, and it seems as though it has been for every dealer.  Bennington simply could not supply the capacity demanded by the dealers.  I estimate that we lost at least 30 boat sales because we did not have adequate inventory.  Our plan for 2018 is to order 30 more boats under $30 K for a segment we were short on in 2017.  We also plan on buying 10 more triple toon models with Yamaha SHO 250 HP models and SPS Plus packages to hit a price point between $55-$65 K.  The folks at Bennington are top notch and the guys all went home with full bellies of prime rib, crab legs, and frog legs too!  Yuck!  All of us flew into Chicago, and we managed to catch a White Sox Game and found a love for Chi-Dogs and Deep Dish Pizza.  This trip cost me 10 pounds!

Field Testing High Powered Bennington Triples 

Maine Boys in the City;  Chi-Dogs for the Next BBQ

Bennington's QXP is in a Class of it's Own

After my trip to the Midwest, I went on the road with Chris Duffy.   Chris has taken on the role as the new Sales Rep for Puffin Boat Co.   His goal is to grow our Edendriver and Scout 151 dealer network from New Jersey to Maine.   I believed that inland dealers that did volume sales like Hamlin’s Marine would pounce on the opportunity to stock Scout 151s.  It turns out I was right.  Chris and I drove to Saratoga, New York and set up Point Breeze Marine on Saratoga Lake.  They loved the boat and are placing an initial stocking order of (3) Scout 151s.  A day later, Chris and hit  Lake Placid, New York and set up another dealer…Placid Boat Rentals.  Placid Boat Rentals is our first Edendriver & Scout 151 dealer.   Of course, eating and drinking again came into play once again!  We caught a Goo Goo Dolls show in Saratoga and found the Mecca of Beer the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT. 

Budget Dining and Lodging on the Road

Beautiful Lake Placid with our New Dealer

Placid Boat Rentals

In early September, Mike Perrino and I headed to the West Coast for the Cutwater Dealer meeting.  I had the opportunity to sit down with the executive team at Cutwater and discuss the growing East Coast market.  During the dealer meeting, Cutwater and Ranger Tugs set the record for the largest Boat Rendezvous in history, with 190 Cutwaters and Ranger Tugs in attendance.  With Cutwater, I learned that we need to change our pre-delivery process to ensure better satisfaction due to the complexity of Cutwater…i.e. one or two day orientations.  Hamlin's Marine is very excited to spearhead the growth for Cutwater Boats on the East Coast.

Not the Biggest Dealer...But Most School Spirit!!!

Mike Perrino Travelling in Style

Dealer Networking Time with S'mores

Cutwater Owners Know How to Have Fun

My next stop was a visit to Duckworth Boats in Clarkston, WA.  I believe there may be a market in Maine for a West Coast style plate aluminum boat for both freshwater and saltwater applications.  Mike Perrino and I did a plant tour, and we were both very impressed with the brand.  Unfortunately, Duckworth seems to be sold out until next August.  They didn’t really seem hungry from business.  However, I just received a followup email about a potential test market at the Boston Boat Show.  I’ll keep you all posted.

Dusty Trip to Eastern Washington

Pure West Coast Rugged Aluminum

In Mid-September, Mike Perrino, Justin Sass, Eric Moran, and I headed to the Newport Boat Show to represent Cutwater, Edendriver, and Scout 151s.  It was a successful show…we ended up selling a used AB inflatable and Josh Cottrell ended up contracted a new Edendriver.  Puffin Boats also generated a 151 Sale for our dealer in Massachusetts, Monahan’s Marine.  We rented a nice house in Newport, and I had a blast working with the Puffin Boat crew.  I can't tell you how proud I am of these men!  And to think, we only started building boats a few years ago!  After Newport, we moved the inventory to the Norwalk Boat Show in Connecticut.  George Francis and Chris Duffy were able to sell another Edendriver and our Cutwater 30 Command Bridge sold as well.

Edendriver on Display

Eric Moran Trying out a Cutwater 30 Command Bridge

Justin Sass Making the Most of Boat Show Downtime

After Newport, Mike Perrino and I flew to the Scout Dealer meeting in Charleston, SC.  Hamlin's Marine has had a solid year with Scout.  A dozen new Mainers are Scout owners this year…not counting the  Scout 151s we build at Puffin Boat Co.  Our strategy for 2018 is to place our orders for each location and make sure we have a proper display throughout the year.  I believe that Hampden will be successful selling 175 Dorados, 195 Sportfish models (now have a marine head), and 210 Dorados.  Waterville will be successful selling 175 Dorados and 195 Dorados.  Freeport will be moving 195 Sportfish, 215 XSF, 235 LXF (new model), and 255 LXFs.  During my time at Scout, I was also able to sign our a Florida Edendriver dealer, Edgewater Yacht Sales in Pensacola, FL.  During our trip south, Hamlin's also signed on with Chris-Craft.  We are very excited to bring Chris-Craft back to Maine.

Mike Perrino with Legendary Steve Potts on a 380 LXF

High Rollers Having Lunch in Charleston

Hanging with our Friend Brian from Danversport, MA 

Sneak Peak at a New Chris-Craft 27 Launch

And just last week, Katie and I drove to Quebec City for the Yamaha Best In Class trip.  Hamlin’s is among the top Yamaha dealers in the country.  The trip was a blast!  I want to thank everyone for helping to send us on this Awards Trip. The trip gave Katie and I the time to put everything that has happened this year into perspective!

Katie in Old Quebec City

I can’t tell you how glad I am to be off the road for a while and catch up with everyone at home.  I am very much looking forward to a successful sales campaign, "Don't Be Scared to Buy a Boat", and a great fall service season.  The showrooms are looking very scary!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hamlin's Marine Boating Report 2017

Tyler Rigging a Mast
Warm weather has finally arrived after a snotty, cold spring.  Hamlin's Marine is working around the clock to get everyone out on the water.  We are delivering boats all over the place from Charleston, South Carolina to the northern tip of Maine.

Our staff has been busy this spring working on projects, rigging boats, hosting Open Houses, and boating...when we find the time!

Just yesterday, members of our team including John Clark (Sales Manager), Kris Gilbert (Yard Coordinator), Glen Parkhurst (Rigger), and Mick Guerette (Marine Technician) captained two new Bennington pontoon boats for a group of military veterans.  They had a great time catching fish and made some wonderful new friendships with some amazing people.

John, Mick, Glen, and Kris

Big Fish of the Day
The men at Puffin Boat Company have been cranking up production.  Right now, we are building about six Scout 151s, two Edendrivers, and a dozen Puffin Dinghies every month.

Check out this hilarious video of Kaitlynn motoring around the Hampden Boat Yard in a new 1060 Puffin Skipper...

Most amazing to me this season so far has been the increasing popularity of Bennington Pontoon Boats.  I am shocked at how many boaters are choosing performance, audio, and lighting upgrades on their new boats.

I hope to see you all out on the water.  So far this year, I've been to Sebago Lake with our management and sales team to fish for salmon and lake trout,

I was also able to fish for stripers with Mike Perrino on the Cousins River in Freeport.  We caught 40 stripers in one hour!  And just the other day, I was on my home turf of the Penobscot River between Hampden and Orrington and caught this little schoolie from my Scout 151 Sportfish!

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Does Size Really Matter?
Northern anglers will be glad to know that Striper reports in the Penobscot are coming in at record pace.  I've heard of 24" fish and 50 fish trips!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Come Visit Hamlin's Marine at the New England Boat Show

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Hamlin's Marine at the New England Boat Show

While Maine just had Stahmageddon and is getting ready for a round two snowstorm, Hamlin's Marine is displaying our best deals at the Boston Convention Center.  

The Hamlin's Marine sales team, aka The Wolfpack, is committed to getting your family on the water this year!

Whether you are a fish head, a parrot head, or a modern day pirate...Hamlin's has the boat for you.  

Check out our line of Cutwater diesel and outboard powered cruisers.  All models feature full cabins with plenty of room for entertaining, dining, and sleeping.  The new Cutwater 242 outboard and 302 outboard models are the hit of the show.  Check out this video of our adventures on Coast to Coast test rides of these amazing models:

If fishing in luxury is more your style, you need to check out our Scout line of boats.  Hamlin's has the all new 255 Dorado dual console model display.  

255 Dorado

Scout's design team hit a home run with this model with a whole new level of comfort and performance.   

If you are sick of shoveling and want to jump start Spring...come see the Wolfpack at the Boston Boat Show.  Just imagine warm summer days on the water!